Game official makes key defensive play in Lobo game; missed kicks don’t just cost Cowboys and Ravens

For those of you who don’t understand my “Spread the News” columns — or who have never watched ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt’s “Bad Beats” segment — everything just started making a little more sense now that legal sports gaming enthusiasm is sweeping across the country.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: Let me be very, very clear; I am not endorsing any type of gambling — be it sports, machines, cards, tables or anything else. I might eventually address that subject in the future. Meanwhile, however, these columns are intended entertainment to show how quickly and dramatically a sports wager can change. I will also provide some knowledge about the sports betting process.

On to some wild NFL endings on Sunday:

  • The Cowboys’ doinked a field goal as time expired, following a controversial penalty, that allowed Washington (plus 2.5) to win 20-17, safely cover the spread and deny over bettors (42.5) an almost certain winning ticket in overtime;
  • A nearly identical scenario played out when Baltimore scored a TD with 24 seconds left, but missed the extra point to lose 24-23 to New Orleans. That crushed the Ravens (minus 2.5) and over (49.5) bettors.
  • Sunday night came more of the same, as Kansas City didn’t try to further embarrass Marvin Lewis and the Bengals (a combination that has made embarrassment a ritual in prime time). The Chiefs covered easily at 45-10, and the over (55.5) looked to be a winner with KC on the Cincy 11 with a first down and still nearly seven minutes left. A 7-yard run put the ball at the Bengals 4, but three runs later — which included a dainty attempt on 4th-and-4 instead of a field goal — left the total at 55. The punch-less Bengals weren’t about to backdoor, and so it ended 45-10.
  • And Monday, the Giants (plus 4) scored with 5 seconds remaining and got the 2-point conversion to cover in their 23-20 loss in Atlanta. Earlier  in the game — and even a day later — broadcasters, sportswriters and fans went bonkers when Giants coach Pat Shurmur unsuccessfully went for a 2-point conversion. Odell Beckham Jr. dropped what should have been a 2-pointer after his team’s TD with 4:52 left cut it to 20-12. Big deal. It mattered zero. New York was still a touchdown behind. Look up Pittsburgh Steelers and 2-point conversions during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, or Philadelphia Eagles in recent years.

The lunacy wasn’t the 2-point try, it was Two-Rings Eli trying back-to-back QB sneaks from the Atlanta 1 with no time outs and the clock running with just under a minute remaining.

Believe me, the NFL’s time mismanagement-factor will become more of an issue with the nationwide sports gaming.


Those damn refs!

Where have I heard that before? This time, there was a case to be made.

If you had Fresno State (minus 13) in its romp against New Mexico, you were basically cashing in by halftime. The over/under? Oy vey.

While you can’t legally wager on UNM or NMSU games in the state, this one is too amusing to pass up. The over/under varied on websites and out-of-state casinos from 51.5-to-53. The Lobos trailed 38-7, but were pounding on the backdoor over in the final minute. If UNM knocked in the TD, would it have gone for 2? Ah, that just added to the circus.

Facing a 4th-and-goal at the Fresno 3, Lobo QB Sheriron Jones fired a short pass over the middle to an open Delane Hart-Johnson.

Hart-Johnson had beaten his defender — but not everyone on the field. And umpire Marlow Fitzgerald made the defensive play of the game.

See the gem below.

As you see on the video, instinctively, Fitzgerald nearly caught the pass himself.

But he wasn’t about to take it 100 yards the other way to cover the over either. Hart-Jackson’s unintentional hit left Fitzgerald looking like he was ready to go a few rounds.

Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports journalism for four decades in print, television and radio, and has won more sports journalism awards than anyone in state history. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at

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